Josh McCown is stepping in for Sam Darnold again.

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    • Josh McCown is stepping in for Sam Darnold again.

      And , this matchup will be one for the aged.The 39-year-old veteran quarterback will start Sunday for the New York Jets against the New England Patriots, the second game in a row during which McCown will be under center in place of the injured Darnold. McCown and 41-year-old Tom Brady will be the second-oldest QB combo in NFL history at 80 years, 258 days.Brady was limited during the week with a sore knee before sitting out Friday and is listed as questionable, but is still expected to play. Only Carolina's Vinny Testaverde (44) and Green Bay's Brett Favre (38) in 2007 would be older at 82 years, 44 days old.McCown was a third-round pick in 2002, two years after Brady went in the sixth round. The two have faced each other as starting QBs just twice, including once last year when New England won 24-17."I think as young quarterbacks, you look around the league and talk about guys that you say, 'Who is the standard or what do you want to model yourself after?' And, how they go about it," McCown said Wednesday. "I think Tom has certainly set that mark. So it's been great to watch him and compete against him over these years because of how consistent he's been year in and year out."Darnold strained his right foot against Miami on Nov. 4 and hasn't practiced or played since. He was listed Friday as out for the game on the team's final injury report."It wasn't (about) what he wasn't able to do," coach Todd Bowles said. "He didn't practice, so he's out."Darnold was in uniform for the last three days of practice White Danny Shelton Jersey , but didn't throw any passes during the 30-minute periods the media were allowed to watch. While he has made some progress in his recovery 鈥?he shed his walking boot a few days after the injury 鈥?it's unclear as to whether Darnold might be ready at Tennessee next Sunday."We'll see," Bowles said. "Don't know yet."McCown was the starter last season, but Darnold won the quarterback competition in training camp and had started every game until he was injured.Meanwhile, McCown hadn't played a snap in the regular season until he filled in two weeks ago in New York's 41-10 loss to Buffalo. He was 17 of 34 for 135 yards with two interceptions as the Jets could get very little going against the Bills."It's not on Josh, it's on the offense in general," Bowles said. "As a team, we have to play better. It's not just one person. Everybody has to play better. Everyone plays better, then we'll do better."McCown had a season-high 354 yards passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions in his start last season against Brady and the Patriots."I think we got in a good rhythm in the pass game," McCown recalled. "We were able to mix it up and everybody contributed. I think that's the key, and that's what we are going to have to do this week. It's all hands on deck, everybody has got to be a part of it. More than anything the O-line played well and played hard, and it gave us an opportunity to do that. Hopefully that will be the case this week."McCown will likely be without left guard James Carpenter blocking in front of him. Carpenter sat out practice all week with an ailing shoulder and is doubtful to play.It wasn't immediately clear who might replace Carpenter, although Dakota Dozier and Brent Qvale could be options.Safety Marcus Maye is also doubtful with shoulder and thumb issues. Rontez Miles or Terrence Brooks could start in his place.Wide receiver Robby Anderson (ankle) and linebacker Brandon Copeland (elbow) returned to practice on a limited basis White Stephon Gilmore Jersey , but were both listed as questionable. Anderson also missed the Jets last game after being injured against Miami three weeks ago.Quincy Enunwa, who leads New York with 29 catches, was a full participant after being limited Wednesday and Thursday with a sore ankle. Coming off a hard-fought victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, the New England Patriots need a quick turnaround as another big challenge awaits: the NFC North-leading Chicago Bears, who not only bring a 3-2 record to the table but also own top-10 units on both sides of the football. Safe to say, that this will be an interesting road contest for the Patriots.Let’s analyze it by taking a look at some of the advanced stats heading into the game (courtesy of SB Nation’s Bill Connelly; for his methodology please click here).Patriots offense vs Bears defenseNormal down and distance in the open fieldThe Patriots offense continues to improve its open field statistics and despite a bad start to the year, now ranks among the top-10 in three of the categories. On Sunday, though, a big challenge awaits in a Bears defense that has found plenty of success between its own 10 and the opposing 30: New England and Chicago are matched up evenly from a statistic perspective. That being said, the Patriots’ numbers over the last three games look much improved when compared to their first three – so one could give the edge to Tom Brady and company.Backed Up Situations Near the Goal LineNew England’s success rate while being backed up inside its own 10-yard line continues to be rather average with an interception in week one still hurting the turnover rate. The Bears, on the other hand, have also not been world beaters when having their opponent pinned deep in its own territory.Red ZoneThe Patriots continue to be one of the NFL’s better red zone teams, even though their success inside the 10-yard line has taken a slight hit when compared to last week’s advanced stats. This week , New England’s offense will face a defense that ranks well in exactly that part of the field – so now would be the right time to show some improvements from the Patriots’ perspective. Maybe Rob Gronkowski, who has only received one target inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, will help.Third DownsWhile their third-and-medium success rate is below average, the Patriots have one of the best overall third down offenses in football. Being able to extend drives has been a key for the team as of late – just watch the last two drives against Kansas City – and it will now try to do the same versus a defense that has been quite productive in this area as well. Talk about a classic battle of strength versus strength.Blitz SituationsNew England’s offense and Chicago’s defense are both faring relatively well in blitz situations – obvious passing downs specified as first-and-18 or more, second-and-14 or more, and third-and-3 or more – with the noticeable outlier being big plays: the Patriots have failed to produce them when playing behind the sticks, while the Bears have failed to stop them in the same kind of situations.Patriots defense vs Bears offenseNormal down and distance in the open fieldNew England’s defensive inconsistency is reflected in the open field statistics. Luckily, it still matches up well against second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears. The only stat clearly working in the home team’s favor is third down success rate: New England has struggled getting off the field on third downs between their own 30 and the opponent’s 10, while the Bears have had no issues converting in such situations.Backed Up Situations Near the Goal LineNew England’s defense and Chicago’s offense match up rather evenly when it comes to backed-up situations: both teams have had some success in this area of the field – inside the offense’s own 10-yard line – which could make for an interesting battle if situations like these come along.Red ZoneThe Patriots like to use a bend-don’t-break approach when it comes to defense, which is built on strong red zone performances. This year, however, the team has had its fair share of struggles in this part of the field – although it has shown some improvement last week against the Chiefs. Now, the unit will face another one of the NFL’s better red zone offenses and being up to the task once again will be one of the keys to the game.Third DownsWhile the red area statistics clearly favor Chicago , the two teams are matched up rather evenly when it comes to third down situations: both units have their ups and downs depending on the situation. One would clearly favor the Bears, though: third-and-short. New England has been atrocious in stopping opponents with less than one yard to go.Blitz SituationsEven though the Bears have an explosive set of offensive weapons in Taylor Gabriel, Allen Robinson II and Tarik Cohen, the team has struggled when playing from behind the sticks. Getting Chicago in such situations would be big for the Patriots therefore, despite them having their own problems as well. However, this matchup still favors New England from a statistical perspective.If the advanced statistics are an indication, the Patriots and Bears are in for what could be a close game of strength versus strength (New England’s offense versus Chicago’s defense), and weakness versus weakness (New England’s defense versus Chicago’s offense). For the visitors, the following questions will need to be answered to decide both battles in their favor:Can the Patriots improve in the red zone on both sides of the ball?Can the Patriots defense force Chicago to play from behind the sticks?Can the Patriots win on third down?If New England is able to accomplish most of those things, it could very well sway the outcome in its favor.